As the month of September continues, the enthusiasm of getting children ready for the new school year can be both exciting and stressful. For some, however, there is an added layer of complexity when joint custody of divorced parents may affect the specifics of school registration. Although courts often defer to the parent with legal custody when it comes to decisions, a parent without the ultimate decision-making power may be granted authority if the court deems it in the best interest of the child. In fact, in a case decided in New York’s Appellate Court in 2013, the court granted the educational decision-making authority to a non-custodial parent because the custodial parent failed to show that a preferred private-school choice was in the best interest of the child. If you have any questions or concerns regarding school registration and joint custody, contact a New York child custody lawyer for assistance.

Legal Custody in New York

Legal custody, in general, pertains to the authority to make decisions about the child’s upbringing by one or both parents, which generally falls into the categories of education, religion, and medical care. New York family law has two types of legal custody for parents undergoing a divorce: joint and sole. Sole custody allows a parent to unilaterally make decisions about the child, regardless of the former spouse’s opinion. Joint custody, on the other hand, allows both parents to share the decision-making authority and consent is required before a choice is made regarding the child.

Joint custody requires cooperation on the part of the parents in order to make decisions affecting the child’s life. If a deadlock occurs between the former spouses, a court may have to step in between the two and order a decision regarding the issue in dispute, taking into account the best interest of the child. This type of custody, however, may be structured in a fashion that divides decision making into different categories, providing each parent with total control of a particular aspect of the child’s life by splitting up the responsibilities between the parties.

Mapping it out – New York’s Parenting Plan

Perhaps the most complicated aspect of divorce, the creation of custody arrangements by the divorcing spouses – known as parenting plans – can be agreed upon by the parties and must take into consideration the “best interest of the child” standard imposed by the court. Below are some factors that should be considered when generating a parenting plan:

  • Geographical distance between parents;
  • Parents’ willingness, or lack thereof, to share parental responsibilities;
  • Ability to keep the “status quo” for sibling/parent relationships and schedules;
  • Child’s or children’s adaptability to change, as well as temperament, health and special needs;
  • Nature and level of the conflict between the parents; and
  • The age and developmental stage of the child or children.

New York Child Custody Lawyer

Before agreeing to joint custody, it is imperative to contact a New York child custody lawyer for advice on the benefits and disadvantages. The family law attorneys of Alatsas Law Firm have a proven track record of excellence and will provide competent and experienced legal advice. Contact the firm today by calling (718)-233-2903 to schedule a consultation.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
Join The Conversation
Ella Starr 08/10/2021 03:16 PM
How interesting that you mention that it depends on the distance between parents with custody. My husband and I are getting divorced this summer. I will find a reputable family lawyer to help with custody.
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